Nuu Mobile G3 review: A high-performing budget option from the Nuu kids on the block

Founded in 2010, Nuu Mobile has worked quickly to establish its reputation as a major new manufacturer of budget and mid-range mobiles. In 2012, the Chinese company launched an international expansion which saw offices and factories spring up all over the world.

And it’s selling more phones year on year, building on its commitment to producing affordable phones with cutting-edge specs. The manufacturer may be relatively unknown at the moment but, with the arrival of the superb Nuu Mobile G3, that could be changing.

Nuu Mobile G3 review: What you need to know

In 2018, there are very few budget phones we can wholeheartedly recommend. Thankfully, the Nuu Mobile G3 is one such phone. This sleek, shiny beauty has a 5.7in, 720 x 1,440 IPS display, a MediaTek Helio P25 processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB built-in storage – expandable up to 128GB. The P25 is not well known outside of China but, for reference, it nestles somewhere between the Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 and 450.

In terms of hardware performance, it’s nearly up there with the Motorola Moto G6 , and its screen has an unbelievably high maximum brightness that relegates even the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9 to the Dark Ages.

Nuu Mobile G3: Price and competition

The Nuu Mobile G3 is available to buy now in the UK and costs £200. That’s more than fair for what it gives you – but are there better phones in the same price bracket? Well, yes. The Motorola Moto G6, which launched at £220, can now be had for just under £200 , and it is superior in several important ways: CPU speed, battery life, display, and camera quality. But it’s not as pretty, and I really dislike the protruding camera on the back.

Then there are two Honor phones to contend with. At £140, the Honor 7A is a full £60 cheaper than the Nuu Mobile G3 and is one of the best phones in the sub-£200 category. Its display resolution is identical to the G3, but its performance benchmark scores aren’t quite as impressive. It does, however, have an astonishing battery life which can power nearly 12 hours of continuous video playback.

Finally, there’s the Honor 9 Lite , released at £200 like the Nuu Mobile G3. The 9 Lite boasts a stunning flagship design and a premium display quality, plus its performance specs are closely matched to the Nuu Mobile G3; the Honor 9 Lite and Nuu Mobile G3 could practically be twins.

Buy the Nuu Mobile G3 now from Nuu Mobile

Nuu Mobile G3: Design

Nuu Mobile has taken a leaf out of Samsung’s book for the G3’s design. This handset bears striking similarities to Samsung’s mid-range A series, most notably the Samsung Galaxy A8 – apart from the colour, that is. Copycat or not, the resemblance is no bad thing; like the Galaxy A series, the N3 has the appearance and build quality of a much more expensive flagship phone. The G3 comes in just one colour, a deep royal blue which reflects natural light to dazzling effect – although it is prone to fingerprint smudging.

The casing is a combination of aluminium, plastic, and ‘strong glass-design’ which supposedly combine to make the phone more durable and shatter-resistant while also allowing for better signal detection and output. On its left and right edges, the screen is practically bezel-free, curving ever so slightly at the sides to create an edge-to-edge effect. There are fairly chunky top and bottom bezels; the upper houses the 13MP selfie camera and call speaker and the bottom has nothing at all. Navigation buttons are on-screen only.

Its three buttons are all on the right-hand side, for power and volume – they are a little close together for my liking, so accidental screenshots are likely to happen now and again. Up top is the dual-SIM storage slot, which also supports microSD up to 128GB. On the bottom is the USB-C port, but no 3.5mm audio jack; for that, you have to plug in the USB-C to 3.5mm adapter dongle. No earphones are included, but budget phones always come packaged with the worst earphones anyway, so it’s probably doing you a favour in the long run.

Either side of the USB-C port are the phone’s speakers. Sound actually only comes out of the drilled speaker holes on the left, however, and audio quality is rather bad. Mozart came out tinny and distant, while thrash metal pioneers Slayer sounded fuzzy and static as if recorded on a cassette in the middle of a rainstorm.

The rear of the phone is somewhat crowded, with its two 13MP and 5MP cameras stacked vertically above the square fingerprint reader. Nuu Mobile’s logo also features prominently, as does the manufacturing and disposal information, which are far more conspicuous than they need to be.

Nuu mobile G3: Display

One area that Nuu Mobile could have done better is the G3’s display. The 5.7in IPS screen has an 18:9 ratio and an HD display resolution of 720 x 1,440, which is really the bare minimum that can be expected from a phone costing £200. HD YouTube videos and images don’t look anything special, although the screen’s near-blinding maximum brightness of 700cd/m2 goes some way to making up for this – it’s the brightest phone I’ve ever reviewed, with near-perfect visibility even under direct assault from sunlight.

The G3’s touchscreen is hyper-responsive for the most part. I used a touchscreen testing app to find out how accurate the display was to my finger placement and it was always right on target – with the exception of a tiny 2 or 3mm margin on the left and right-hand sides, where the screen curves off and around the edges.

Colour profiling was a little disappointing though, at 83% of the sRGB colour gamut, and in 2018 it’s fair to expect better, even from budget phones. That said, the contrast ratio was pretty good at 1,237:1, considerably better than the Moto G6.

Buy the Nuu Mobile G3 now from Nuu Mobile

Nuu Mobile G3: Performance and battery life

Performance in the Nuu Mobile G3 was, overall, better than expected. It houses a MediaTek P25 octa-core processor, a relatively new mid-range chip based on an A53 ARM design that’s been around for a while now. Though it lags a smidgen behind the Moto G6, it’s roughly on the same level as the Honor 9 Lite, with a Geekbench multi-core result of 3,357.

Nuu Mobile’s G3 actually outdid all comparison handsets in the graphics department, reaching 17fps in the GFXBench Manhattan on-screen test. It’s no Razer Phone or iPhone X, but you can’t expect a £200 handset to compete with a flagship. The point is, the Nuu Mobile G3 does slightly more than what it needs to.

Unfortunately, battery life on the Nuu Mobile G3 isn’t as impressive. The Honor 9 Lite and G3 are within a few minutes of each other, but both are surpassed by the Moto G6 and especially the Honor 7A; the latter managed to run for a mighty 11 hours and 39 minutes of continuous video playback. Meanwhile, the Nuu Mobile G3 barely crawled across the 9-hour mark. This is nothing to do with the bright screen, by the way – all our phones are set to the same brightness for the duration of the test.

Nuu Mobile G3: Camera

Selfie-snappers will enjoy the wide angle 13MP front-facing camera. Additional features include a power flash for well-lit self-portraits in darker environments, and in the phone’s settings, you can allow the fingerprint sensor to serve as the snapper so you don’t need to touch the screen to take a picture.

On the rear of the Nuu Mobile G3 is a camera setup comprised of a primary 13MP lens and a secondary 5MP lens for depth-sensing and auto-focus. The camera software’s ‘Pro’ mode lets you manually adjust ISO, focus, and exposure to help you capture the moment, although it’s no substitute for a DSLR camera. Video shoots in 1,080p at 30fps only, unstabilised.

Photo quality is pretty poor. In indoor, low-light conditions the camera struggles to capture surfaces with any degree of clarity. Take a look at the comparison between the HDR shots from the Nuu Mobile G3 and the Alcatel 5, a sub-£200 budget phone, to observe the atrocious image noise and lack of depth of the former.

Outdoors and in good light, the Nuu Mobile G3 suffers noticeably from over-exposure, although these photos are taken using the default settings, which can be fiddled around with for marginal improvements. The bigger problem is the inability of the camera to pick up on the contrast between surfaces of a similar colour. Compare the brickwork seen in the G3 photo with that of the Alcatel 5 to see how the much the colours blur and bleed into one another.

Buy the Nuu Mobile G3 now from Nuu Mobile

Nuu mobile G3: Software

Nuu Mobile is behind the times with the G3’s OS. It runs on the outdated Android 7.1 Nougat operating system, which means no Picture-In-Picture display mode, a default maximum aspect ratio of 1.86:1 for all apps meaning you can’t take full advantage of the screen size, and background tasks that take up more time and power. It’s still perfectly functional without these features, and I did not experience any lag from the User Interface, so I don’t think that the older OS is such a major drawback.

Security settings include an efficient fingerprint reader and a less functional face recognition function. There’s a hilarious Matrix-esque graphic which comes up when the phone is scanning your face, and it’s very fussy about saving your face’s information – you need to practically kiss the screen. Good as the phone is, I didn’t go that far. Amusingly, (or frustratingly, depending on your disposition) the Nuu Mobile G3 deletes your fingerprint unlock information when you save facial recognition data, and vice versa, so you can never have both unlock options simultaneously.

Another annoying thing: the sound settings to change the phone to silent or vibrate are not available from the pull-down menu at the top of the screen, as they are on literally every other phone I’ve ever used. You need to use the volume buttons or go into the phone’s settings app, but there’s no one-tap fix.

Nuu Mobile is vocal about its distaste for unnecessary and non-deletable pre-installed apps, so upon starting up the phone you just get the bare bones Google and system management apps. It’s actually a breath of fresh air to find a home screen that’s not overcrowded with manufacturer-branded apps and widgets. You heard me, Vodafone.

Nuu Mobile G3: Verdict

The Nuu Mobile G3 embodies Nuu Mobile’s philosophy that phones should have specifications that match the price tag and also last a long time. This handset offers top-notch spec performance for its price range and comes with a 2-year guarantee; with the G3, Nuu Mobile is definitely living up to its values. While it’s not perfect, the G3’s got a lot going for it.

For a better camera, you may still want to go with the Motorola Moto G6 , and for superior battery life, the Honor 7A would be the best choice. But overall, the Nuu Mobile G3 is one of the most formidable budget handsets I’ve seen, and may well be the most beautiful, too.

Buy the Nuu Mobile G3 now from Nuu Mobile

Hardware

Processor

MediaTek Helio P25

RAM

ARM Mali-T880

Screen size

5.7in

Screen resolution

720 x 1,440

Screen type

IPS

Front camera

13MP and 5MP

Rear camera

13MP

Flash

LED

GPS

Yes

Compass

Yes

Storage (free)

64GB

Memory card slot (supplied)

microSD up to 128GB

Wi-Fi

802.11 b

Bluetooth

A2DP

NFC

Yes

Wireless data

383 kbits/s

Dimensions

70mm x 153mm x 9mm

Weight

169g

Features

Operating system

Android 7.1 Nougat

Battery size

3,000mAh

Author

November 13,2021

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